The Friday night match was RCD Espanyol against Granada with a 1 - 0 final result to the home side. The merit of Espanyol was that the team was down 10 men in the 29th min when Victor Alvarez received a red card. Instead of putting their heads down the team kept on attacking & was rewarded for their initiative & endeavour in the 79th min when Hector Moreno scored for what later would be the winner. True grit by Espanyol & deserved 3 points.
Valencia CF ran over literally Real Betis winning 5 - 0. Devastating blow for Betis which has the Spanish Second Division in their sights as they sink in the last position of the Liga ladder. The goals came in the following order:
- Mathieu 41st min, 1- 0
- Paco Alcacer 44th min, 2 - 0
- Feghouli 62nd min, 3 - 0
- Paco Alcacer 68th min, 4 - 0
- Vargas 79th min, 5 - 0
Talking about suffering, Madrid Club Rayo Vallecano put in a brilliant performance to win 4 - 1 Malaga FC. Rayo are also in relegation troubles & played like a mid-table side pushing aside a poor & disoriented Malaga. The goals came early & steady for Rayo with Falque scoring in the 25th min, followed by Arbilla in the 27th min, Larrivey in the 45th min & again Falque in the 62nd min. Malaga managed a consolation goal in the 72nd min from Iakovanko but the damage was already done. Trouble at Malaga I do predict.
Real Madrid was without its star player Cristiano Ronaldo ( on suspension ) & won 4 - 2 a gritty Villarreal at the "Santiago Bernabeu Stadium". The Madrid team played well & managed to keep at bay the attempts from an also good Villarreal side from a comeback attempt. The man some thought was not performing as expected this season, Gareth Bale, shut some months tonight with a good game that included the 6th min opening goal & a pass in the 24th min that found Karim Benzema who scored the second.
Villarreal are a tight outfit & were not thrown off their match plan. Their first goal came in the 42nd min when Mario scored & this put doubts into the home team. However, Real Madrid picked themselves up again & Di Maria found Jese in the 64th min who scored a class goal. The youngster once again lifted the applause of the fans as he keeps taking his chances with goals. Villarreal reacted later with a "pearl" from Giovani, a 25 mt free kick that was pure art in motion. This made some think that perhaps Villarreal could equalize but the fourth & definitive goal from Real Madrid came in the 75th min from Benzema to shut things. Real Madrid maintain the pressure at the head of the Liga table, especially after Atletico de Madrid lost at Almeria.
Almeria pulled off the surprise result of the Round defeating Liga leaders Atletico de Madrid 2 - 0. The loss by Atletico de Madrid puts Real Madrid on top of the Liga ladder with goal advantage while if FC Barcelona wins their game tomorrow there would be 3 Clubs at the top with 57 points.
The game was very tactical, pushy, sluggish & at times boring. Atletico de Madrid had the majority of the chances throughout the match but they were not able to convert their efforts into goals. They paid dearly for this allowing Almeria to grow & to believe that they could pull off a surprise. It came in the 80th min when Verza managed a great goal in the 80th min. The Atletico goalie in for injured Courtois, Aranzubia, could have done more but it was a great goal. The second & the sealer came from a penalty in the 88th min which Verza converted. This also earned Atletico de Madrid goalie Aranzubia a red card ( very harsh) , a mistake earlier that he tried to rectify in a haphazard manner fouling the Almeria player which left his team with 10 men. After this there was no more time left for Atletico to react, which lost & loses the Liga ladder leadership.